Pop some popcorn, grab a drink and get ready because the circus is coming back to Iowa!
That's right, election season 2014 is underway! And this time, like all the other times, it's special.
Why? Well, after vanquishing all her foes in the Republican primary with a deft mix of boiler plate talking points and a humorous take on hog castration State Senator Joni Ernst has emerged to challenge the blue jacket on a coat rack that everyone has agreed to call Representative Bruce Braley to fill the U.S. Senate seat of soon to be departing Tom "I've Had Enough of This Garbage for Two Lifetimes" Harkin.
The campaign for Senate has only been underway officially for a few weeks now. Usually this is the time that one candidate starts screwing up and the other earns that great endorsement from the American voting public: Not as bad as the other one.
Well the American voting public (Slogan: Voting means I can be late to work!) is going to have to wait to bestow that particular crown, as both candidates have decided instead to plummet to the bottom at break neck speed.
First: Braley makes fun of farmers.
While attending a dimly lit booze fest of a fundraiser Rep. Braley decided to make some disparaging comments about Rep. Chuck Grassley, a man against whom he is not running.
He went on to say that "you might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school, never practiced law, serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee."
He's talking about Sen. Grassley chairing the Judiciary Committee if the Republicans take control of the Senate. He's also giving a master's class in how to lose an election in Iowa.
Step 1: Insult farmers
Step 2: Insult bacon
Step 3: Insult corn
Step 4: Wear only tuxedos in public appearances.
If we start seeing Braley in formal evening wear we know he's thrown in the towel.
But even a picture of Braley wind surfing with John Kerry while eating a tofurkey dog won't win the election for Joni Ernst, not if she keeps letting stuff like this happen.
Second: Joni Ernst shoots the voters.
During the GOP primary Ernst's light-hearted commercial about the hilarious practice of castrating pigs got the most attention. Following that formula Ernst released another ad wherein she reminded us that her new, exciting approach to legislating at the highest level would be to fire a handgun at bills she didn't like.
Of course, it was just another wacky, devil may care ad from the Ernst campaign using humor and a little bit of violence to drive home her point about how much she hates Obamacare.
Then six people got shot and killed by a deranged gunman in Santa Barbara.
Somehow the visual of Ernst, who seems to have rotated her Charles Bronson in "Deathwish" costume into her day-to-day wardrobe, firing directly into the camera, put people off.
During a televised debate Ernst defended the ad by saying that she wouldn't change it and that the shooting was a tragedy and a terrible accident.
Accident? Tragedy, absolutely, but accident?
Ernst, if you're going to be a Senator you at least have to know the proper platitudes.
Violent act: Tragedy, repugnant, shocking.
Industrial incident, regardless of blame: Accident, resolve, shocking.
Economic collapse due to unregulated banking: Unforeseeable, unavoidable, shocking.
You need to have these down cold Ms. Ernst! This is how you win elections, you can't expect your opponent to keep making mistakes ... of wait.
Third: Braley doesn't appeal to chicks.
So Braley and his crack team of resume updating staffers decided that one good farm-themed ad deserved another, so they concocted an ad about how Joni Ernst's voting record doesn't reflect her rhetoric and used some ham handed framing device of a chick peeping.
Apparently nobody thought it was a bad idea to use a chick to represent one of the few female politicians in Iowa; Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and her behind the scenes machinations notwithstanding.
So now Braley looks sexist, once again out of touch with farmers, and falls another rung down the ladder. There's not much left for him to do now, since it would take a lot for a female candidate to lose the woman vote.
Fourth: Ernst's husband goes on Facebook, starts calling politicians skanks and hags.
Yep. Ernst's husband, Gail, posted some poorly photoshopped pictures claiming that Hillary Clinton is a "hag" and that then Secretary of the Dept. of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano was a "traitorous skank."
Actually, right before he calls Sec. Napolitano a skank, Gail was propogating a popular NRA myth about the lack of available ammunition being a plot by the government. So his full quote was "And am I suppose (sic) to give up my guns? As if! Traitorous skank!"
"As if?" Since when did the NRA become fans of "Clueless?"
Ernst released a statement saying her husband's remarks were "appalling" and then had what I'm sure was a totally normal and in no way silently hostile evening meal with her family.
OK, so far we've got farmer-phobia, shooting the electorate and women voters being treated poorly on both sides of the aisle. And it's only June!
Pass the popcorn.